Crime and Mentalities in Early Modern England
Crime and law have now been studied by historians of early modern England for more than a generation. Crime and Mentalities in Early Modern England attempts to reach further than most conventional treatments of the subject, to explore the cultural contexts of law-breaking and criminal prosecution, and to recover their hidden social meanings. In this sense the book is more than just a 'history from below': it is a history from within. Conversely, the book explores crime to shed light on the long-term development of English mentalities in general. To this end, three serious crimes - witchcraft, coining and murder - are examined in detail, revealing new and important insights into how religious reform, state formation, secularisation, and social and cultural change (for example, the spread of literacy and the availability of print) may have transformed the thinking and outlook of most ordinary people between 1550 and 1750.
Shortlisted for the Longman/History Today Book of the Year award, 2000-1